Tom Brady may look like your average all-American football player, but his dietary regiment is anything but ordinary. Thanks to his book, "The TB 12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance," the five-time Super Bowl champion quarterback gives us a glimpse of what his daily diet routine looks like. Here's a shocker: the Tom Brady diet is highly restrictive and involves many rules.
"The regimen I follow is a mix of Eastern and Western philosophies. Some of these principles have been around for thousands of years. My nutritional regimen may seem restrictive to some people, but to me it feels unnatural to eat any other way," Tom Brady confesses.
What exactly is he talking about? Read on to find out because we have gathered all the juicy (and tasty) details of the Tom Brady diet to give you an inside look at the super-athlete's strict diet routine.
Principles of the Tom Brady Diet
Eat Only “Real Foods”
The Tom Brady diet advocates the principle of eating "real foods". That means eating non-processed foods grown straight from the earth. As Tom Brady himself puts it, "Many people have conditioned their bodies to a nutritional regiment made up of lots of white or pale-looking foods—french fries, potato chips, white bread, chicken nuggets—that don't exist in nature." What kinds of foods is Brady referring to?
The first group of "real foods" of the Tom Brady diet are nuts and seeds. Brady admits to eating nuts high in fat and protein as a part of his meal or as a snack.
The second group of "real foods" of the Tom Brady diet comprises fresh fruits and vegetables. Unsurprisingly, 80% of Brady's diet includes fruits and vegetables. He especially prefers vegetables rich in alkaline. Examples include sweet potatoes, dandelion green, and Brussels sprouts. These alkalizing vegetables have the added benefit of decreasing muscle inflammation compared to acidifying foods, which include the aforementioned rice and bread. By eating more naturally grown alkalizing foods, the Tom Brady diet seeks to aid in muscle recovery through plant-power alone.
Together with vegetables, fruits are another crucial component of the Tom Brady diet's "real foods" principle. Brady revealed that he eats fruits that are "nutrient dense, high in fat, high in protein, and high in calories". Blueberries and bananas are a staple of the diet. Brady also suggests eating fruits alone as "they digest quickly." See below about combining foods.
Eat Plenty of Protein-Rich Foods
One thing the Tom Brady diet does not skimp on is protein. Throughout the day, Brady incorporates protein into every meal, snack, and post-workout recovery. "I'm never lacking for protein," Brady says. Here are how the Tom Brady diet packs a protein punch.
Brady's habit of drinking a protein shake within 20 minutes of his morning workout is well-documented.
"Wait any longer and your body will begin seeking its own protein sources and start tearing down muscle you've just been building up," Brady says.
Some days, he says he has "up to three or four scoops of protein powder" in a day. Mixed with almond milk, the protein powders aid in Brady's muscle growth and recovery. When he is not drinking protein shakes, Brady snacks on protein bars along with fruits.
In the late afternoon and early evenings, Brady might have another protein shake to ease his snacking needs. If a hard workout is in store for the next morning, Brady will have another protein shake after dinner instead of a traditional dessert.
Combined with Other Foods
The Tom Brady diet follows the general principle of combining foods. Some foods are better eaten together, while others are better eaten alone. Here are the "do's and don'ts" of combining foods.
Hydration Is King
We have all heard about the importance of drinking eight glasses of water a day. We try so hard to keep up, but our busy lives sometimes get in the way of this lofty goal.
For Brady, hydration is obligatory; it is king. It is the bedrock of his strict dietary regimen. Over and over Brady talks about the importance of hydration in his book. Hydration is such an important element of the Tom Brady diet because it is the foundation to everything else Brady does.
Right after waking up, Brady drinks 20-ounces of water before a glass of smoothie made of fruits and nuts. During his workouts, Brady drinks water infused with electrolytes to help him stay hydrated and to aid in muscle recovery. Brady avoided coffee and caffeinated drinks because they dehydrate rather than hydrate the body. Throughout the day, Brady drinks 12 to 25 glasses of electrolyte-infused water.
It’s All about “Balance”?
The Tom Brady diet seeks to maintain a balanced approach to daily nutrition. However, Brady admits that he rarely eats dessert or drinks alcohol, or even tea for that matter. "I don't really drink tea, but I might drink of a cup of bone broth," Brady writes. The Tom Brady diet is all about consuming what the body needs with none of the non-essentials. This might seem like a boring approach to eating, but it is one that has helped Tom Brady achieve a power-house body both on the fields and in his daily lives.
"I enjoy how I eat, and what I eat, and never feel like I'm missing out," Brady says.
Now, we might pause here and wonder if the Tom Brady diet really is as balanced as he claims it is. Where is the joy of eating if it restricts us to eat only food that are good for us? Sacrifices of the bad and the non-essential are a large part of the Tom Brady diet.
What Does the Tom Brady Diet Look Like?
Immediately after he wakes up, which is usually around 6 a.m., Brady drinks 20 ounces of electrolyte-infused water. After that, Brady drinks a smoothie containing "blueberries, bananas, seeds, and nuts."
At about 8 a.m. is roughly when Tom Brady works out. He continues to drink electrolytes-infused water throughout his workout to stay hydrated. Afterward, he drinks a protein powder with almond milk within 20 minutes of his workout.
Before lunch around 11 a.m., Brady may grab a snack if he feels hungry.
Lunch for Tom Brady takes place around noon and usually comprises an abundance of vegetables combined with a protein, which is "often a piece of fish". As stated earlier, the Tom Brady diet warns against drinking water with meals, so it's important to stay hydrated before lunch begins. Another principle worth reiterating here is choosing alkaline foods (leafy greens) over acidic foods (white rice and bread).
When it comes to vegetables, dinner is another opportunity for Brady to eat plenty of. Deserts are not on the menu; though, Brady might sometimes drink a cup of broth.
Brady is a staunch believer in snacking and naturally a snack-enthusiast. One of his favorite snacks includes–you guessed it–protein shakes. Brady has mentioned that it is not unusual for him to have up to "three to four scoops" of protein a day. He also enjoys raw vegetables, hummus, and chips and guacamole.
In fact, one flip-through of Brady's book reveals that Brady is a huge fan of avocados. Brady's book, The TB Method, includes many his avocado and greens salads recipes and an avocado ice cream recipe to boost. Can you say obsessed much?
Is the Tom Brady Diet Practicable?
Sure, Brady says his diet regimen is "all about balance." To the average person, this balance might not seem practicable and may not be the same balance that the average person can achieve. For any diet, the adage holds true: what works for some might not work for others. Therefore, it is important for us to examine our own lifestyles and nutrition needs before we follow and commit blindly to a popular diet.
There are many good takeaways of the Tom Brady diet. For one, we can all drink more water throughout the day and opt for healthier snack options that are grown naturally. For another, we can all add more discipline to our diet, whether that is choosing brown rice over white rice or drinking less coffee and alcohol. The bottom line is, there are many ways in which we can incorporate some or all of the principles of the Tom Brady diet into our own lives.